Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford - Medford
Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford - Medford

Category: Rehabilitation & Restoration

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford is virtually unaltered since it was originally built in 1894. The Gothic Revival building was designed by J. Merrill Brown, a former apprentice in the offices of H. H. Richardson and Peabody and Stearns, to replace an earlier meetinghouse that was destroyed by fire. The building underwent a structural evaluation in 2003 that identified significant structural problems. The belfry was near collapse. The roof over the Fellowship Hall was pushing the north wall outward to the point that the room was vacated whenever more than six inches of snow was on the roof.

The renovation was extensive and always included more than simply repairing the most urgent problem. For example, while repairing the roof of the Fellowship Hall a drop ceiling was removed and the original cathedral ceiling restored. The church’s gothic stained glass windows were disassembled and re-leaded, and the surrounding tracery, which was severely deteriorated, was replaced with wood. And not only was the church belfry restored, but a bell was added so that there is, for the first time in the history of this building, a bell in the belfry.

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